Denver Bar Association
February 2007
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“Wheels of Justice” Rides Again
To Benefit Children’s Hospital


by Heather Purcell

In 2006, the "Wheels of Justice" — a team of cyclists sponsored by the Denver and Colorado Bar Associations — made its mark on the Denver fundraising, fitness and community service scenes. In its first year, the DBA/CBA Wheels of Justice cycling team attracted 125 riders and raised more than $130,000 in the 18th annual 2006 Courage Classic, a beautiful, three-day cycling tour through the Colorado Rockies that raised more than $2.1 million for Denver’s Children’s Hospital.

On Dec. 14, DBA Past-President Chris Little presented The Children’s Hospital Foundation with a check for $130,000 on behalf of the Wheels of Justice. It was appropriate for Little to make the presentation, as he not only cast the DBA’s support behind the team, but also put his own "sweat equity" into the project by riding the Courage Classic, raising money as an individual rider and committing his firm as a sponsor of the team. When accepting the check, The Children’s Hospital Foundation Vice President Peggy Warner said of the team: "Their incredible first-year fundraising success helped the 2006 Courage Classic break all kinds of records. But more important, they are contributing directly to Children’s new hospital on the Fitzsimons campus."

Attorneys and Their Families Touched by Children’s Hospital

Many on the Wheels of Justice team have been directly affected by the top-notch care offered at Children’s Hospital. Daniel Hubbard, shareholder with Pryor Johnson Carney Karr Nixon, is an avid cyclist and proud father of Brian Hubbard. Brian was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in his left foot in November 2005. RSD is a sympathetic nerve disorder that causes excruciating and unrelenting pain that is not easily cured or treated. Brian has been unable to walk since the diagnosis.

"It has been a very difficult year for Brian," said Hubbard. "The insightful, compassionate, multi-disciplinary care Brian has received from the physicians, especially Dr. Glenn Merritt and all the staff at Children’s, made this year bearable."

Hubbard feels lucky to have ready access to the Denver Children’s Hospital and is pleased that his firm is supporting, through the Wheels of Justice, the Children’s Hospital’s efforts to provide care to all children.

Non-lawyers Also Enjoy the Ride and Make a Difference for Children’s

The DBA/CBA Wheels of Justice team has attracted riders from many different professions and with varied missions behind their rides. Wheels of Justice rider John Bissert is a manager in the sporting goods industry and dedicated his 2006 ride to his neighbor, 13-year-old Erin Conroy. Bissert raised more than $5,100 for Children’s as a Wheels of Justice rider, and featured Erin’s story in the fundraising letter he sent to his personal and business contacts:

Erin was born with a rare genetic disorder that caused extensive brain damage. When she was an infant, her doctors told her parents that she would probably not speak, sit, or walk. In 1997, Erin’s family began taking Erin to Children’s Hospital for ongoing treatment. … Physical therapists helped her learn to sit and move around the floor. … Occupational therapists taught her to hold a crayon and use a zipper with one hand. Speech therapists helped her to discover language and learn to talk. The orthotics specialist custom-designed braces to help her stand properly. … Erin was diagnosed with scoliosis, curvature of the spine, in October of 2003; she was 10 years old. In March of 2004, Erin had orthopedic surgery at Children’s Hospital to correct a curvature so severe that it compromised both her heart and lungs. … Without the surgery, Erin’s major organs would have failed due to the pressure from her spine. … Following the procedure, Erin’s condition began to deteriorate. Children’s Hospital performed an exhaustive battery of tests and discovered an underlying infection. Two subsequent surgeries were performed. After a lengthy recovery, Erin is a happy, healthy, 13- year- old girl who loves to shoot hoops and play video games.

Erin came to the 2006 Courage Classic to cheer on John and his fellow Wheels of Justice riders.

"I have ridden many charity rides in the past, but the Courage Classic has been the best, hands-down," said Bissert. "It is a great course, very well-organized, and for a great cause! Being part of a team like the Wheels of Justice made the experience even better. It is warming to see so many people come together for a great cause and it was fun to have a teammate at every mile."

Law Firm Sponsors Lead the Way for Kids

Sponsors are a key part of the team’s support of Children’s Hospital. In 2006, more than $50,000 of the team’s $130,000 total came from the Wheels of Justice Law Firm Circle — a group of Denver’s leading law firms that supported the team as sponsors. This year firms are encouraged to join the Law Firm Circle of Support at the Supreme ($10,000), Barrister ($5,000) and Partner ($2,500) levels. All contributions are tax-deductible and will go directly to Children’s Hospital.

Pryor Johnson Carney Karr Nixon is a leading law firm sponsor of the Wheels of Justice. "We have supported The Children’s Hospital for years, but never in a way that combines one of the firm’s true passions — cycling — with our firm’s longstanding commitment to community service," said Aaron Bradford, Pryor Johnson’s Managing Partner. "Cycling has long been an important part of our firm culture. It is not uncommon to see people out for a ride at lunch or planning a ride for the weekend. When the Wheels of Justice came along, we jumped in with both feet," Bradford added.

Your support as a rider, volunteer, individual donor or firm sponsor will make a huge difference for Children’s Hospital and the Wheels of Justice. Whether you are a beginning cyclist looking to get fit in ’07 (try the one-day "Taste of Courage") or a "Lance-a-like" veteran looking for an epic challenge (try adding the extra 100-mile "century" challenge), the Wheels of Justice encourages you to climb aboard for the 2007 Courage Classic, set for July 21–23.

For more information on the Wheels of Justice, contact Ingrid Heiser at iheiser@cobar.org or Heather Purcell at (303) 991-2641. Early-bird registration for the Courage Classic begins Feb. 1 at http://www.couragetours.com.


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